Reaver's Horizon - Chapter 1
Monday, June 13, 2005

A man managing to get by has his world thrown upside-down in an instant.


“In today‘s Interplanetary news, The SETTLER program has progressed nicely by recently transforming three rather inhospitable planets into habitable environments. The Alliance has high hopes that the SETTLER program will continue it‘s impressive track record. And now we turn to Kim Li for the main story.” “Thank you, Stephen. Earlier today a small collection of planets announced that they were unhappy with the Alliance and suspect the SETTLER program of removing influential persons who speak against the them. The Chairman of SETTLER had this to say, ‘These allegations and accusations are completely false. This collection of planets are bringing independent thinking where it does not belong. I for one hope that this farce quiets as quickly as it was brought up.’ Yet despite the Chairman‘s protests the collection of planets ,now calling themselves the Independents, continue to try to stir up controversy….”

The viewer switches off his television. “This gorram alliance is never gonna have peace.”, he whispers to no one. He rubs his eyes, stands up and heads for the kitchen. On his way there a slight buzzing noise catches his attention. He heads over to his cortex, makes a few gestures and plays the most recent wave. A symbol of the Alliance flashes on the screen and the word ‘SETTLER’ is posted many times over on the background. “Aiya!”

An attractive female appears on the screen and states, “Good Evening, Mr. Jon Clevens. This wave has been sent to you as notification that you have been entered into the SETTLER program. This rewarding program will give you the opportunity to spread life to new planets. You have one week to pack and say good bye to those you know. After the week has passed proceed to the address below where you will receive instruction on how you are to use the tools and conduct yourself on the planet surface. Have a good day.”

The screen goes blank and Jon rests his head in his hands. “Gorramit! I thought I had everything thought out. That deal with Jefferson was supposed to go through, it was supposed to get me out of the SETTLER crosshairs!” Jon sat in silence, He knew full well that not everyone who started a settlement was part of the SETTLER program. Those were the few who got the planets that were close to the Core Planets with aid coming every time. Jon thought about the program that took the unwanted elements of society and hurled them to some rock out in space, aid was a blessing from God there. He had always kept himself abreast of the ‘volunteers’ that went into the program. Most of them were indentured servants, homeless beggars, and petty criminals. But, he had to remind himself, that there were volunteers and then there were volunteers. The true volunteers were usually people who were middle-class and had some kind of connection with the higher ups. Those volunteers always ended up as the leaders while some were kind-hearted and managed to raise their town to a higher status, many more took it upon themselves to keep the workers just that…workers.

Jon lifted his head and scanned his apartment, the grey walls and cream colored carpet weren’t really his style but it was the standard décor in new residences. He stood up and walked through his small abode, a bedroom with a full bed, a cramped kitchen, a single bathroom, and then his Living/dining room. Jon let out a sigh of disappointment as his eyes rested on a dragon statue he had kept for good luck. It’s head slightly lifted and it’s mouth open wide, with an arm raised. The dragon was ready to repel any that opposed the will of it’s keeper. Up until now it had worked perfectly, he had landed his apartment, gotten a raise and, up until recently had a decent cash cow on the side. But somehow that cow was milked prematurely and left Jon with an empty pail. His loan 3 days due, he figured he had time to apply for an extension. The weight of failure rested on Jon’s back as he managed a weak smile and said, “It was a valiant try my friend, I guess you can‘t protect me from everything.”

Deciding a walk would do him a world of good, Jon gathered his coat, the necessary plastics, and his Ident-card. In a matter of minutes he was out the door and into the crisp, cool, wintry air. The weather didn’t do much to improve his spirits, as Jon kept thinking back to his ‘Business deal’ with Niles Jefferson. “Damn you, Niles.”, he grumbled, “You took my cash and the goods. If I ever see you again I‘ll rip your heart out!” Jon was milling through the deal and how it was supposed to go down when he heard a shout from behind him. Curious, he turned and saw a single man being chased by three Alliance police officers. “The Hell?…” The man looked like he hasn’t rested well for days, his clothes are torn in several places and his pursuers are catching up fast. “Halt! Stop where you are!” One of the officers shouted. The running man gave no answer he only whimpered as his leg began to cramp. “This cannot end well.”, Jon thought to himself, “Hope he doesn‘t try to get help from me.” Jon tried to turn away but he couldn’t help but watch the events unfold before him. The runner spots Jon and heads to him, “Help Me!” he shouts but his voice is so hoarse Jon couldn’t understand a word. Within ten feet of Jon the runner’s cramp got the better of him and he fell to the ground. He struggles to his feet but gets taken down, by the officers chasing him, hard.

“Nice try punk!” the first officer says, “You, Phillip Johansen, are under arrest for not appearing at the SETTLER briefing center by the date issued to you. ” Jon’s eyes went wide, he hadn’t expected such enforcement for the SETTLER program. “Obviously, this isn’t a regular government program.” Jon thinks to himself. But the second officer read Jon’s expression, “Don‘t mind us, Sir. Just keeping renegade SETTLER trainees in check, don‘t want them wasting Blue Sun’s money.” Jon’s face scrunched up as he thought, ‘The Blue Sun Corp.?’ The first officer shot the second one a stern look and said, “You gorram rookie! This man doesn’t need to know the goings-on in the program. That’s confidential information.” After a few moments they had prepped the fugitive, “Ok, He’s ready let’s get him to the SBC. Now quit talking and lets get out of here. ”

The next few days went by surprisingly quick for Jon. But throughout those days the words the rookie spoke kept coming back to him. Don’t want them wasting Blue Sun’s money ’What’s the Blue Sun Corporation doing with a government program?’ He thought to himself. ’They must be supplying funds for the program. But why? ’ Jon later dismissed the thoughts when it got too heavy for him and continued to prepare for his appointment. Once the week was up he was ready to head to the SETTLER briefing center. He gazed at the cold, steel building, it was as inviting as a coffin. Jon grimaced and spoke aloud to anyone who would listen, “What, they couldn‘t put flowers or something on the walls to make it ….more appealing?”

After a few minutes of awkward silence, Jon built up his courage and went inside. The foyer for the building was quite large and colored an oddly striking shade of grey. The chairs looked like they were from an Earth-That-Was modern style that would probably be better served as art, rather than actually being used to sit on. Aside form the door he came from there was one other visible door and a window with an attendant leaning out calling the names of several individuals. Jon did a few spins to see the room in it’s entirety, though it wasn’t much he couldn’t help but think he was missing something. Eventually the feeling faded, Jon could only guess that it was the intent of the rooms design to dull the sense of curiosity.

“Ruttin‘ government,” Jon thought, “Always about function and never about form.” “Jon Clevens? Will a Jon Clevens come forward?” Jon went to the window as he had seen others do and waited for instruction. The attendant politely held out her hand palm up and, with a voice that betrayed her peppy look, spat “Ident Card, please.” Jon reached for his Ident Card that was on a snap-off clamp hanging from his belt loop, promptly took it off and handed it to the attendant. “Oh, a belt clamp, how….different” the attendants face showed the dislike and she made no attempt at masking her sarcasm. Jon shifted his weight nervously and looked at the attendants name tag, which read ‘Sandy’. Sandy swiped the card in the appropriate slots, punched a few keys, and then said “Ok, Mr. Clevens. Your Identity has been confirmed, now you need to walk through the door to the left of me and proceed down the hall to the fifth door on the left.”

She then took the Ident card and threw it in a pile behind her. Jon stood there, wondering why he wouldn’t need his card anymore. However, his thoughts were interrupted when Sandy sharply stated, “Hey! Didn‘t you hear me? I said move along.” Jon nodded, then headed to his next destination.

Plopping down in a standard posture-promoting chair, Jon takes a quick look around the room and takes note of the people he should try not to be caught in a dark alley with. A man wearing an Alliance uniform walks into the room. He too looks over the assembly of men that will venture out, Terra-form and ultimately, start a settlement on a distant planet. His face was fixed into a grimace of disgust as he introduced himself to the people, “I, am Second Lieutenant Charles DuBedford. I am here to teach you and to show you what needs to be done on the planet you will soon call Home.”

For the next few hours the Second Lieutenant presented boring lectures and conducted several mediocre hands-on training sessions. Jon was on the verge of a nap when DuBedford bashed against the wall behind him with one of the training tools. Many of the men in the room, who had already started sleeping, woke with a jolt and fixed all eyes on the Second Lt. .“Well, Now that I have your attention, I‘ll show you something that will make your lives just a little bit easier on the planet the program will put you on.” A large, sturdy-looking machine was wheeled into the room by four soldiers. DuBedford continued, “This sophisticated piece of equipment is worth more than all of your sorry hides put together. That said, I don‘t think I have to tell you guys to take extremely good care of it. This thing will save you from a world of grief.” Jon stared at the machine, it didn’t look like it could do anything, yet he was drawn to it nonetheless.

“It connects to the satellites that are in orbit with the planet and gets various readings that will help you in terra-forming and when creating a settlement. The satellites will pick up the weather, locations of ores, and the movements of the tectonic plates of the planet. They‘re also accurate enough to pinpoint any lazy slouch to within an inch of where he is.” The crowd gives a weak laugh to an equally weak joke. The lieutenant then gives a demonstration of how the device works then calls for volunteers, Jon goes up first and learns the controls fairly quickly. Encouraged at how easy it seemed a few men got up to try but gave up in frustration.

“Anyone else? No? Good. Everyone step through the door to my right and you will meet your appointed Leader.”

As Jon steps through the door he notices that there are no lights. A screen on one side of the room comes to life, spreading the lighting needed to find a new chair. A face appears on the screen, the hazel eyes are accented by the dark brown hair that falls over it. Jon overhears another man whispering, ‘So some sly punk is gonna lead us?’

The face on the screen speaks, “Good Evening, Gentlemen. My name is Paul Stevens, are you ready to begin a new world?”


Tuesday, June 14, 2005 2:42 AM


I like how this is starting. Very different from anything else I've read here. In the Firefly 'verse, obviously, but it seems to take place well before the war. Good stuff!!

- Soul

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 10:45 PM


Well, you got my attention. More soon please!!

No Power In The Verse

Saturday, March 4, 2006 8:48 AM


Very different. I like it.
Nice backstory.

Almost had a Logan's run feel to it, and it fit!

Nicely done. Can't wait to read more!


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Reaver's Horizon - Chapter 1
A man managing to get by has his world thrown upside-down in an instant.